Argentina’s Florería Atlántico recently named the world’s fifth best bar on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2021 ranking.
When the World’s 50 Best Bars 2021 were announced in mid-December, Dubai was given plenty of reasons to celebrate. With DIFC hotspots Galaxy Bar and Zuma claiming the 45th and 17th positions, our Middle Eastern city was finally recognised as a contender on the world stage when it comes to mixology.
Yet it was the placement of Argentina’s Florería Atlántico as the world’s fifth best bar that piqued the interest of the FACT team, especially considering the bar owner and founder, Renato ‘Tato’ Giovannoni, is currently in the midst of a three-month pop-up at Iris Dubai.
Taking over one of the four bars at the Meydan hotspot, the concise selection of beverages and Argentinian cuisine being showcased amidst floral arrangements and striking neon signage is just as impressive as Iris’ magnificent skyline views.
The pop-up runs until the end of January. It features a bespoke cocktail menu, with beverages representing the countries that provided the most significant immigration flows to Argentina from the first decades of the 20th century. The colourful menu explains the story behind the unique beverages, each created using ingredients that reflect the different palettes and flavours of settlers at the turn of the century.
Guests can enjoy the Colonia Lujan, enthused by the presence of the Japanese community in Argentina, the El Dorado, stemming from the German, Swedish and Danish families arriving by boat to Puerto Piray, and the Valcheta, reflecting the Syrian and Lebanese immigration movement to settle in the southeast of Río Negro. Each drink is expertly prepared and embellished with pretty garnishes and unique glassware, including the Yamanas (AED 80), a sapphire coloured concoction of Glenlivet, Old Tom, early grey, pine mushrooms, rosehip and king crab bitter that is percolated through a dripper in a similar means to the preparation of Vietnamese coffee.
The unique blending of ingredients belies the subtleties and nuances of each of the chosen beverages. Take for example, the Negroni Balestrini (AED 65), in which seawater and eucalyptus blend effortlessly with Campari, Amaro and Botanist in a drink that is as unique as it is memorable. These game-changing concoctions offer a respite from the Dubai norms when it comes to mixology, showing exactly why Florería Atlántico earned its well-deserved placement on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2021.
The food doesn’t quite match the same heady heights as the beverages, except for the delightfully preserved octopus (AED 65), which presents the tender confit mollusc inside a glass jar with orange, cinnamon, coconut oil and black pepper. The dish has a marmalade-like taste that perfectly plays on the curled tendril and the texture of the crisp bread.
Elsewhere, a lone King Crab empanada (AED 95) lacks the wow factor and requires a touch more seasoning. However, the grilled squid (AED 65) prepared over embers features a nice char, enhanced by the olive tapenade upon which it sits. When it comes to desserts, the dulce de leche creme caramel (AED 55) offers a memorable finale where layers of dulce de leche, ginger and miso creme, caramel and lime chantilly harmonise perfectly.
Established in 2013, Florería Atlántico is a florist and award-winning hidden bar. When the sun sets, a refrigerator door reveals a flight of stairs leading down to an atmospheric basement space beneath the flower shop in Buenos Aires. In addition to its world’s fifth best bar ranking, Florería Atlántico was crowned the Best Bar in South America in 2020. Judging by the full house on the evening we visit, it would appear that the word is truly out when it comes to the presence of the hidden bar in Dubai. With less than a month to go until the pop-up finishes, you better get those reservations in quick.